Thursday, April 11, 2013

Castle Drogo's Round Table with White Sausage and Fried Cheese

Castle Drogo, architect Edwin Lutyen's Drawing

I find writing Lost Past Remembered can be somewhat cathartic.  Not in a tell-all, confessional kind of way BUT –– there's a blush of the confessional when I've revealed I'm overly fond of the Knole sofa (HERE), and mentioned my adoration of a classic Greek Klismos chair (HERE) and of course dishes –– I love of the distinct personalities of antique dishes –– chips, scratches and all. 

I confess, I am passionate about certain THINGS –– they speak to me.   

I've used work-arounds to tell you about my furniture passions on what is ostensibly a food blog since sometimes it's good to share other delights with my dear readers (and you don't give up one passion to explore another –– besides, I think people and places, possessions and cuisine are related).  

Castle Drogo round table designed by Edwin Lutyens

The volume is turned way, way up when it comes to one special table and, well, the whole room that goes with it.  This isn't much of a stretch because it does involve a kitchen –– oh what a kitchen.

Castle Drogo plate rack in the scullery at Drogo, Photos from Flickr

I am referring to the kitchen that Edwin Lutyens designed in Castle Drogo and the round table that I have wanted for decades (ok the plate rack too if you please –– I am mad for plate racks.) It was love at first sight.

photos from Country Life, 1945

Could you die over this table –– this room?

Castle Drogo was the last castle constructed in England, located at the NE edge of  Dartmoor National Park in Devon (SW of London).  Built by master builder Edwin Lutyens between 1910 and 1930 for the Home and Colonial Store's founder, Julius Drewe.  

Lutyens had a magnificent body of work well before this commission.  His arts and crafts style had drifted to the classical but he was known for delightful country houses (often collaborating with garden designer Gertrude Jekyll) as well as the impossibly grand Viceroy's House in Delhi, creating a style called the "Delhi Order."  

There's a great article (HERE) about the bought heritage of Castle Drogo –– Lutyens gave his client the "castleness" he wanted while providing a livable residence through a masterful manipulation of scale.

Castle Drogo is an enormous pile of granite named after a supposed Norman Baron ancestor of Drewes, Drogo de Teign, and cost upwards of £60,000 to build (£40 million today).  Some unfortunate technical choices (a flat, asphalt membrane-covered roof –– the integrity of which was compromised from the beginning, the wrong mortar recipe for the damp climate and sill-less windows) led it to a lifetime of leaks and damage.  The family that owned Drogo got fed up and gave it to the National Trust in 1974.  It is finally undergoing an £11 million restoration to remedy the situation (although it will be open for visits during that time - 2,355 granite blocks  and 13,000 glass panes will be removed and replaced properly).

I was reminded of it again this winter when one of my favorite blogs, the National Trust's Treasure Hunt featured the kitchen and longing for the Drogo round table welled up once more.

Lutyens designed everything in the kitchen and what a place it is.  It has been called a "chapel for food."

photo from Country Life, 1945

From the circular roof lantern pictured above (that reminded me of the lantern on the medieval abbot's kitchen at Glastonbury that I wrote about HERE) to my Platonic ideal of a kitchen table that mirrors the shape of the roof lantern (or as the National Trust site calls it "a Soane-style top-lit pendentive dome"), the scullery cabinets and plate rack –– this is the kitchen of my dreams ––  even though it would be larger than many houses just by itself (and what's wrong with that?).

This is the Lutyen's company perfect copy of the original – it is for sale

Lutyens Furniture and Lighting  (a company run by Lutyens granddaughter, Candia) makes a perfect copy of the 6', birch-topped, oak-bottomed table (aged or new looking –– your choice), it is pricy ($34,900) but worth every nickel.  I so wanted it for a house of mine with room for it, but alas, got rid of the house and it really was a bit out of my budget –– sigh.  Now, I have no room for it or that yards-long plate rack I covet.  Oh well, I put it back on my bucket list.  One day I'll have to buy a house, gut the whole 1st floor and put this in, imagine, 3/4 of a house all kitchen!  Heaven –– my own chapel for food.

But what to make?  I think something Devonish, don't you?  

I thought of all the rich desserts and by heavens I surely have enough rich cream to do it these days thanks to my Amish farmer -- it is as rich as the cream of Devon for which it is justly famous.  

But no, I decided on another great Devonshire favorite, white sausage or Hog's Pudding.  It's a peppery pork sausage complemented by another favorite of the region, deep-fried cheese with gooseberry elderflower jam that you can make in season (May to August) or purchase (as I did at Penshurst Castle a while back - but most gourmet stores carry it).  You can also buy gooseberry jam and add elderflower flavor to it.  Stupendous stuff, you know how I love elderflower if you read this blog at all (HERE, HERE and HERE).  The sausage is a snap to make with a processor –– really so easy it just takes a few minutes and makes your pork stretch in a very tasty way. Freeze what you don't use for a proper English breakfast instead of bangers or blood sausage. It makes for a splendid nibble at a party.

It would be perfect for a bit of a plain aire picnic in my castle kitchen as I made a quick snack for the Baron, eh?

White Sausage or Hog's Pudding

3 oz rolled oats
1/3 pound pork fat, roughly chopped
3 oz breadcrumbs
1 2/3 lb ground pork
1/4 c water
3 t salt (or to taste)
1 t pepper (or to taste)
1/4 t mace
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t thyme
1/3 t sage

 2 yards of casing for sausage (optional)

1 T olive oil

Put the oatmeal in the food processor and grind for a minute,  add the pork fat and blend until thoroughly mixed. Add the breadcrumbs and pork and all the spices and blend with the water till it has a smooth texture and rolls around in the processor.  Take a tablespoon of the mixture and boil for a few minutes.  Taste for seasoning.  If you like what you taste, put the meat into the casings or roll into thick sausage shapes.  Some people roll the sausages in plastic wrap or aluminum foil if they don't want to use the casing method,  but I would rather not boil plastic or foil with my meat –– your call.  Place in water and simmer on low for 45 minutes.  Remove and cool.  

Slice and fry in oil for just a bit –– too long dries it out.  Drain on paper towels and serve.

Fried Cheese

8 thin 1 oz wedges of cheese (cheddar or a like cheese –– you can use more than one type)
1/2 c flour
2 eggs, whisked
1/2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 c bread crumbs
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
pinch cayenne

Mix the salt and peppers in the bread crumbs –– if your cheese is salty, skip the added salt.  Add the Worcestershire sauce to the eggs. Put the cheese wedges in the flour to coat.  Dunk in the egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs. Make sure you thoroughly cover the cheese.  It tends to leak out as it fries if your don't.

Deep fry at 350 till golden and drain on paper towels then serve with gooseberry elderflower jam.

Gooseberry Elderflower Jam (a Delia Smith Recipe)

2 lb gooseberries (topped and tailed)
4 T elderflower liqueur (like St Germaine)
2 t butter
2 lb sugar

Rub the bottom of a pan with the butter.   Add the gooseberries and 5oz water. Simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add the sugar and dissolve, this will take about  15 minutes.  Turn up the heat and boil rapidly 8 minutes.  
Spoon on a chilled plate to see if it has set.  Delia says if it has a crinkly skin when you push it you are good to go.  If not, boil another 5 minutes.  Cool and add the Liqueur.  Put in sterilized jars and cool.


Buy gooseberry jam and add a few tablespoons of St. Germaine liqueur to the jar.

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La Table De Nana said...

Beautiful plating!
I admit to dish love..not let's go to HomeGoods and buy everything we see dish love..But real dish love..Like my grandparents mothers' friends dishes:) and some found by me dishes..
And gifts from my daughters dishes:)
I also have to confess I love my plate one hundreth of the size you showed..I think perhaps 20 plates fit..maybe 24..
And this may sound materialistic..but I shall miss it when the time comes and we must move..
It is a sight for sore eyes for me and brings me great platesure:)

Your dish is always..
and love my learning curve here:)

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I would love a a kitchen castle also but I fear it will never happen. For now I will a covet these lovely tables and dish racks also,

I've never made a sausage but you make it sound so easy and the recipe sounds delicious!

Diane said...

I could curse, when we moved back to the UK I left my circular table behind because to was too big for the houses in England. Now I could use it again in France. We now have a long oak table which I love but it is not circular!!
Interesting recipes and I love fried cheese. Have a great weekend Diane

ArchitectDesign™ said...

You hit all of my favorite subjects time and again -and LUTYENS no less - my heart sings.
I think food has the propensity to bring EVERYONE together -who can't agree on it? And it's human nature to bring design to everything (at least, some humans) so your blog is a perfect trifecta of all 3 and that's why we keep on coming back for more!

Emile de Bruijn said...

I like those plates too. And of course I share your admiration for Lutyens. 'Temple for food' is a good description of that Drogo kitchen.

Kathy Walker said...

I so enjoy your blog...I learn something with every post! I love all castles...I especially love the table!!

Barbara said...

Oh that plate rack! How completely divine. Sheer heaven to have a kitchen that size. Never did and never will. But yes, we can dream. My SIL had an enormous round antique pine lazy susan table. It was exquisite. I wanted one so badly when my family was younger. I searched and searched and never found the perfect one. So we all have dream tables, Deana. But circumstances change and we either can't fit our table loves OR can't afford them!
I'd love to make the gooseberry elderflower jam. Not a fan of Delia's, but the British have such a store of elderflower recipes and I make them as often as possible.
Wonderful post!

Frank said...

One of things I like best about your blog are the essays into old houses and interior design! As a chef manqué and could-have-been architect, with a weakness for antique furniture, you push all of my buttons!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

The last castle in England!!?? I love it! A cathedral for food indeed! I could move right in ...

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Deana my dear, I first want to thank you for coming to my posts on a regular basis; you are kind, and for whatever reason you enjoy coming to see me, I am grateful.

Your writing is exceptional...beyond the ordinary. Why someone with your intelligence and taste would come to see me is really beyond my understanding, but I thank you. I promise not to push my immature poetry in my readers' faces too much! But this recent post is actually an assignment I gave my fourth graders last year and actually tried it myself for the first time. I am registered to take a poetry class this summer, and look forward to going DEEP. I think I can do it, but what is more important, is that I grow. You obviously have had a rich education and I can see it in your word choices and style.


I could function in such a kitchen, NO PROBLEM. In fact, my favorite types of kitchens are castle kitchens for they are FUNCTIONAL, no cheap bells or whistles, just get-to-the-point tools and spaces. But what is stunning is the rich woods and timeless stone that is used in these utilitarian spaces and this one is of premium allure. When I was at Chenonceau, I fell in love with the kitchen. Forget the rest of the château!

FRIED CHEESE? And here I thought it was a Minnesota thing at the state fair! Lovely post AND a confession of your passion for the textures and tastes of history. Anita

El said...

Yes, I love the table. The recipe looks great too!

Marjie said...

I love the dining room furnishings and fixtures, and that's one of the things I always survey, no matter where I go. Your sausage and cheese dinner looks wonderful!

Carole said...

Fantastic castle to visit - like that it was the last! And love the dish you did as well. So interesting. Cheers

Sarah said...

Interesting that a castle was constructed that late in time. Lovely. I am not a sausage lover but the cheese would be amazing. Beautiful pictures, as always. That kitchen reminds me of the basement kitchen in the old church I used to attend. I loved it - the huge pantries, the work table, the rustic gas range.

Ken Albala said...

Reminded me of Glastonbury immediately too. How funny!

Unknown said...

A kitchen so large it occupies ¾ of the house? This might sound too much for others, but for a food and cooking addict like me, I say this is fair. I like that you think that too. Haha! Anyway, the food looks really tasty. The thing I like most with sausages is that they go well with almost every dish, and they're easy to prepare too. Thank you for sharing this. I will try this next.
Dione Nye

Sally - My Custard Pie said...

I adore Castle Drogo - inside and out - especially the kitchens, although we always comment on the fancy shower they have in the bathroom too. My grandfather was a Master Carpenter so I understand your love of a good table.

Round Table And Chairs said...

What a fabulous post this has been. Never seen this kind of useful post. thanks for sharing.